Finding the right pieces for any League of Legends team is an endless battle. And with rosters of only five players, being one man down can have disastrous effects. One quality that can tip the scales in your favor is simple stability—and now North American team Curse is finding out just how valuable that quality is.
The team comes from premium gaming stock—their main sponsors, Curse, Inc., own a wide variety of gaming networks and news sites on the web. A long-time supporter of PC games, it was no surprise when Curse entered the esports foray in 2011 by purchasing a League of Legends team to complement their brand.
Since then, Curse has been a constant fixture in the North American pro gaming landscape and has competed at the highest levels. But despite their long history in the scene, they never managed to finish in first place.
Finally, last summer, the team made a major move to give their team the shot in the arm to push them over the top. Curse reached out to the Russian support player, Edward Abgaryan, and offered him a roster spot. Abgaryan, fresh from a second place finish in the spring and looking for a break from his old team, Gambit Gaming, accepted.
The plan ended up backfiring. Failing to fit into the team, Abgaryan and the rest of Curse ended the playoffs in sixth place, and had to fight for their way back into the League Championship Series. Abgaryan was shortly released from the team.
Curse’s hunt to replace him thus far has been a total disaster.
The first replacement, George “Zekent” Liu, stepped up after a rocky 2013. Liu had been disqualified from the LCS in early 2013 after his team was found guilty of “ghosting,” or having a third party watch the game and feed their team information. Now allowed back into the LCS, Liu was picked up by Curse as they headed into 2014.
The results weren’t pretty. With Liu, Curse went 3-5 through the first three weeks of competition. With the season beginning to look grim, Curse management asked Liu to step into the coaching role for the team, while Brandon “Saintvicious” DiMarco, coach and former Curse jungler, stepped in to fill the role of support in Liu’s stead. Many were skeptical if DiMarco could make the transition to a new position on the team.
Curse, if anything, got worse. An initial win with DiMarco was soon forgotten as the team’s record took a nosedive. They are currently at the head of a four-game losing streak. The team’s manager, Steve Arhancet, spoke out in support of DiMarco in an interview: “I asked [DiMarco] to help out and play a role that’s not his main at a time of need for the team. We wanted it to work out, but after a few weeks we realized that hes (sic) simply a much better jungler than he is a support.”
News broke on Reddit earlier this week of Curse’s new plans. DiMarco would be stepping back into his role as a coach, while newcomer support Michael “Bunny FuFuu” Kurylo. The news was soon confirmed by onGamers.
Kurylo, who has little history among the pro teams save for a sting with challenger team Gold Gaming LA, is starting this week for Curse as their support player, despite just a week of practice with the team.
He will be carrying a heavy load as fans look to him for a resurgence for the seventh place team. In order to avoid relegation from the LCS, Curse need to at least bypass fifth place Team Coast, who are two games ahead of them.
Arhancet seems to believe in this new pickup, saying, “Over the last few days we’ve been scrimming some of the best teams in LCS with great results.We hope we can do our fans right by taking that into LCS this weekend.”
If not, Curse may have to find yet another support player to break their streak of bad luck.
Photo via Riot